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Favourite books

A ReadingSocial (Virtual Bookshelf) reader on Facebook wrote to me: "Hey, I noticed you've read a lot of boooooks. Can you please help me with your top five books? I've begun a list of books I want to read and I want to diversify what I read. Can you please include any spritual books? "
It took a while for me to pick five books and identifying my top five books would take months so I recommended:
  • Peter Ackroyd. Hawksmoor
  • William Blake. Songs of Innocence and Experience
  • Kahil Gibran. The Prophet
  • George Grossmith. Diary of a Nobody
  • Alan Watts. Tao, the watercourse way
What would you have suggested?
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My picks (sticking to fiction):

Gargoyles and Port, Mary Selby
Three Men on the Bummel, Jerome K Jerome
The Liar, Stephen Fry
Pickwick Papers, Dickens
All the Sherlock Holmes books
Re-reading your post, you wanted spiritual books. Ummmm...nope, can't think of any really, although am about to read '6 feet over' about life-after-death theories.

I like my books either non-fiction, or fun, possibly with serial killers.

Furtle's favourite fiction

I do not know of Mary Selby so I have found a copy of Gargoyles and Port on ABEbooks for 50p. Three Men on the Bummel is my favourite JKJ although it is close run by Idle Thoughts of an Idle Fellow. Fry's The Liar is a comic masterpiece. I did not like Pickwick Papers when I read it many years ago and I have yet to connect to Dickens in general. I plan to give him another try one day. And I share your enthusiasm for the entire Sherlock Holmes canon.
Richard Dawkins: The God Delusion?

Maybe not.
Can't say that the spiritual level of a book really comes to mind for me. I guess if I were picking my five favourite fictional works, they might easily be:

1. 1001 Nights (by Scheherezade, I suppose)
2. Dhalgren by Samuel Delany
3. Ficciones, or maybe Labyrinths, by Jorge Luis Borges
4. Les Miserables by Victor Hugo
5. Seventh Heaven by Alice Hoffman

I'd probably stick with the last two for spirituality too, and maybe throw in some like The Glass Bead Game (Hesse*) or 100 Years of Solitude (Garcia Marquez) or The Tin Drum (Grass) or Crime and Punishment (Dostoyevsky), say.

* I know you know who these are by, Theo, but I didn't want to assume everyone else reading would.
Borges is one of those authors that I know I would love but have never read. So many books... so little time!
"Anam Cara", John O'Donohue

Anam Cara

What a truly brilliant suggestion. Have you read The Mist-Filled Path by Frank Henderson Maceowen?

Edited at 2008-04-23 08:48 pm (UTC)

Re: Anam Cara

No, I haven't... recommended?

Re: Anam Cara

Essentially, it is a heavily annotated compilation of passages from traditional Celtic literature that MacEowen found inspiring in his own spiritual journey through Celtic mysticism and Buddhism. A kinder description is that it is a loose description of that journey heavily illustrated with quotations. Either way, the result is much more than the sum of its parts.
When I asked the original querent for his five favourites he listed:

Ishmael - Daniel Quinn
The Alchemist - Paulo Coelho
Siddhartha - Herman Hesse
The Peaceful Warrior - Dan Millman
The Ascent of Man - J. Bronowski

which is an interesting list. I have already read Siddhartha and The Ascent of Man and the rest are on my "want to read" list.


This is the person who asked for the top 5

You guys might like

The Count of Monte Cristo (Alex Dumas)
The Giver (Lois Lowry)

Of all the books in all the world...

The Count of Monte Christo was one of the books that I considered including in my original list. I have ordered a copy of The Giver.
Conrad's Heart of Darkness would certainly make my list.

September 2015



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